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Judge: ‘Tin Drum’ Isn’t Pornography

October 21, 1998

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ An Academy Award-winning film confiscated from video stores, homes and a library does not violate child pornography laws, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

Police began confiscating copies of ``The Tin Drum″ last year after District Judge Richard W. Freeman ruled the movie violated Oklahoma’s child pornography law because of three scenes, including one that depicted a minor performing oral sex.

U.S. District Judge Ralph Thompson ruled in December that the seizures were unconstitutional and the videocassettes should be returned. In an 11-page ruling issued Tuesday, he said the film does not meet Oklahoma’s legal standard defining child pornography.

Oklahoma County District Attorney Bob Macy had asked Thompson to rule that the film contains child pornography.

But the judge found that while some scenes may meet part of Oklahoma’s child pornography definition because the material includes underage actors simulating or portraying sexual acts, it does not meet the other half of the test because it doesn’t appeal to prurient interests, Macy said Tuesday.

``The Tin Drum″ won the Academy Award for best foreign film in 1979.

It centers around ``Oskar,″ a boy who chooses to physically remain a child and expresses frustration and anger by banging on his tin drum and making a high-pitched scream.

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